When David Walker (Utopia and Handle) got Chris Bradford and Pip Williams together to record "Everything is Alright" he was probably unaware of the wheels he was setting in motion.
Slated to be Chris's debut solo single, the song was recorded at the Manor Studio, with King Crimson's Mike Giles on Drums and studio legend Dave Markee playing bass.
The single was never released and so has been lost to the public for many years, until now. Here at last you can hear it.
Although the song didn't go public, now the wheels were quietly turning . . . Pip and Chris followed up "Everything Is Alright" with the Sunrise sessions, recording a number of Bradford penned songs with Laurie Andrew (aka Laurie Forsey) on backing vocals. Laurie then introduced Ray McRiner, and the gears began to engage.
The Sunrise Sessions comprise the following numbers recorded at Sunrise Studios and produced by Pip Williams. These songs can be downloaded as an album "Mars At Sunrise" from BANDCAMP. Click the album cover on the right to listen to the songs or download the album.
"Julie" and "Ouled Nail" of course were re-recorded by Bardot and appear on their debut album.
So Chris hooked up with Laurie and Ray to form Bardot in 1977. Each member a strong singer/songwriter, their sound, heavy on melody and complex harmonies was sometimes compared to Crosby, Stills & Nash.
Ray, on guitar and vocals, was also known for his compositions, arrangement, vocal and instrumental work with The Sweet, and as touring guitarist for the band.
Laurie, (also on guitar and vocals), was a successful solo recording artist in his own right with the single "I'll Never Love Anyone Anymore", a top of the Pops appearance, along with composition and vocal credits for work with Sir Cliff Richard, Boney M, Traks, Gianco, Keith Forsey (Session musician for Harold Faltermeyer and Giorgio Moroder among others),and Lesley Duncan.
The band were signed to RCA Records in 1977, and released three singles between 1977 and 1978. During 1977 Bardot supported Bonnie Tyler and her band in concert, and on 2nd August performed Eagle Road and Rockin in Rhythm on The Elaine Simmons TV Show in Scotland.
RCA released their album Rocking in Rhythm in 1978 – a collection of polished folk rock songs, produced by Pip Williams.
The LP wasn't released on CD, but if you're interested in hunting it down the vinyl can still be found new or used from various places, e.g.
The Bardot album finished.. Chris and Laurie headed to Eilat, Israel.. the Red Sea.. Gulf of Aqaba.. to write songs and unwind! They got friendly with some UN guys who were headed to the Dead Sea. They got a ride and floated for a while. Border stop on the journey back.. Laurie held by guards with guns and smiles.. Chris and the UN guys drove back to Eilat to find his passport!
The photo.. Chris.. Laurie and a young Israeli friend who was very helpful!
"Evening entertainment was pretty basic back then, but there was a nice little bar! Laurie and I spent most nights there playing guitars and drinking Snake Oil... a local brew! A wobbly camel ride next day on the beach.. flaming hills of Jordan on our left.. and the sparkling waters of the Red Sea to the right.. it was hot! We returned to the UK tanned and hungover.. not many songs though!
That was 38 years ago.. we are in touch, I love him dearly, and there's still an ocean between us.."
The Roundhouse rehearsal rooms, 1978
A rare Bardot picture - The Roundhouse rehearsal rooms, Chalk Farm, London, 1978.
Taken by Dick Barnatt, a respected Rock'n'Roll photographer ( Sweet, Barclay James Harvest and dozens more) when we got a drummer and bass player involved after the Bonnie Tyler tour.
The drummer was Steve Murray and the bass player Jeff Taylor.. both friends of Ray's. They were on a retainer for about 6 weeks of raw Bardot.
1978 also saw Bardot working at Ringo Starr's Startling Studios providing all the backing vocals for Graham Bonnet's album No Bad Habits. The album was produced by Pip Williams who collaborated extensively with Bardot and with Bradford on his later projects.
- Ray McRiner - composer, guitar, vocals
- Laurie Andrew - composer, vocals
- Chris Bradford - composer, vocals
- Pip Williams - producer
- Mike Giles (King Crimson) - drums
- 1978 - Rocking in Rhythm
- 1978 - No Bad Habits (Graham Bonnet) - backing vocals
- 1977 - 7" Witchfire / Hero's Reward
- 1978 - 7" Julie / Mountain Side (Netherlands)
- 1978 - 7" No-One Cries / All The Ladies
A little known fact: Ray McRiner once prepared to share the stage with Mars.